RUSSIAN COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR TO PASS INTO PRIVATE HANDS, DRAFT DECREE TO COME UP NEXT WEEK

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MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade will offer the federal Cabinet a draft decree on Svyazinvest privatization within next week, reports the ministerial press service.

A previous draft version was turned back to the ministry for further coordination, a ministry PR officer said to Novosti.

"The drafting procedure initially did not require decree approval by the Finance Ministry and the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. The government staff, however, later found it necessary to coordinate the draft with those offices," she explained.

"That will be a technical matter," added our informant.

The ministry offered the government an initial draft, April 8. The document had been coordinated with central military offices and secret services, German Gref, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, said to the media that day.

The government intends to sell its Svyazinvest block of 75 per cent minus one share.

One of the world's largest telecommunication holdings, Svyazinvest affiliates seven interregional corporate majors, four open-end electric communications joint-stock companies outside those majors, the Giprosvyaz research institute, and Rostelecom-interurban and transnational communications major.

The Sistema joint-stock financiers and Alfa Group are tentative government block purchasers.

Sistema is the largest private service company throughout Russia and other CIS countries. Established in 1993, it is a manager of leading service companies engaged in telecommunications, high technology, insurance, banking, property business, retail trade and the media. Vladimir Yevtushenkov is its president and main stockholder.

Alfa Group, one of Russia's principal private financial and industrial consortiums, is no less versatile. It engages in the most diverse fields of business-petroleum and gas extraction, commercial and investment banking, asset management, insurance, retail trade, telecommunications, cutting-edge technologies, and capital investment in industry and commerce. Mikhail Fridman is chairing its Directors' Supervisory Board.

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